Things to Do in Albuquerque: By JUNKET
Did you know Albuquerque was once the sheep-herding center of the West? Or that it’s the only word in the English language that repeats the letter sequence “que” twice? Or that it receives 77% of all available sunshine?
A captivating city rises from the heart of New Mexico's cinematic high desert, an effortless blend of the old and the new, from its centuries-old adobe structures to its futuristic technological discoveries. With its striking natural beauty, Southwestern cultural heritage, and vibrant modernity, Albuquerque offers a myriad of things to do and places of interest that will leave you spellbound.
In Albuquerque, adventure and authenticity go hand in hand. Whether you're admiring the panoramic views from the Sandia Peak Tramway, discovering the city's fun attractions, or uncovering the hidden gems cherished by locals, Albuquerque promises a remarkable journey filled with unforgettable experiences.
History and Heights
A stroll through Albuquerque's historic Old Town instantly transports you back in time. Cobblestone streets wind their way between adobe buildings, while hidden courtyards beckon with their tranquil charm. Explore the San Felipe de Neri Church, a historic landmark dating back to 1793, and discover a variety of shops and art galleries offering Southwestern souvenirs and Native American artworks.
If you're lucky enough to be in Albuquerque in early October, don't miss the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Watch as hundreds of colorful hot air balloons take to the skies, creating a mesmerizing spectacle against the backdrop of the desert landscape.
When the sun sets, Albuquerque's vibe comes alive with a blend of live music, eclectic bars, and cultural venues throughout downtown and the Nob Hill neighborhood. The scent of freshly roasted green chiles wafts through the air, mingling with the melodies of street musicians, creating an ambiance that is uniquely Albuquerque.
The Dead of Duke City
As twilight casts its shadowed cloak over the city, the celebrated Albuquerque Ghost Tour beckons, inviting you to delve into the chilling tales and spine-tingling accounts that pull back the curtain on the city's haunted history.
Brace yourself for a captivating adventure as you navigate the mysterious past and haunted landmarks of Albuquerque, immersing yourself in the eerie atmosphere where you are invited to:
- Discover the ghostly woman of the Church Street Cafe
- Uncover the trapped spirits of the Bottger Mansion
- Encounter the Hatchet Lady at Old Town Plaza
- Unearth the fancy phantom at the Covered Wagon
- And so much more…
There’s a Junket for everyone – Pick yours.
Albuquerque's history spans thousands of years, beginning with the presence of Native American tribes in the region. The earliest known inhabitants were Paleo-Indians who hunted and gathered in the region. Later, the Ancestral Pueblo people settled in the area and left behind impressive cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
In 1706, Albuquerque was founded on the banks of the Rio Grande as a Spanish colonial outpost along the Camino Real trade route. The Spanish settlers established a settlement near the present-day Old Town area and named it after the Duke of Alburquerque, Viceroy of New Spain.
It served as a vital stop for traders, explorers, and settlers traveling through the region, fostering a vibrant and diverse community.
“I have founded a Villa on the margin and meadows of the River of the North in a place of good fields, waters, pastures, and timber, … calling it and naming it the Villa of Alburquerque.” - don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez (1706)
After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, Albuquerque became part of the newly formed Mexican territory. However, in 1848, during the Mexican-American War, the region came under American control as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
During the era of westward expansion and the Wild West, Albuquerque embodied the spirit of the frontier. It was a bustling trading post and stagecoach stop, attracting pioneers, cowboys, and outlaws seeking opportunities and adventure.
The arrival of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1880 played a pivotal role in the growth and development of Albuquerque. The railroad brought increased trade and commerce, transforming the city into a vital transportation hub in the Southwest. It also attracted new settlers and contributed to the city's economic prosperity.
Welcoming the World
In the early 20th century, Albuquerque became a popular stop along the iconic Route 66, the "Main Street of America." The city's streets were filled with bustling motels, diners, and quirky roadside attractions, creating a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.
This era marked the beginning of Albuquerque's emergence as a tourism destination.
During World War II, Albuquerque became a significant center for military activities. The nearby Kirtland Air Force Base was established and became an integral part of the city’s culture. As a result, Albuquerque experienced a surge in population, with a bustling wartime economy that fueled the city's development and solidified its status as a key player in the defense industry.
The Modern Era
In the post-war years, Albuquerque played a crucial role in the atomic age and the space race. The nearby Sandia National Laboratories conducted groundbreaking research in nuclear science, while the city became a significant center for aerospace and defense industries. Albuquerque's contributions to science and technology have made for pivotal advances in these fields.
Albuquerque has gained fame as a sought-after filming location for movies and television shows. The city's distinctive landscapes, historic buildings, and Southwestern charm have attracted filmmakers from around the world, who use Albuquerque as the filming location for popular television shows such as "Breaking Bad."
Albuquerque embraces its multicultural heritage, with a blend of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo influences. The city's historical sites, museums, and events celebrate its diverse past, offering visitors and residents a chance to explore its fascinating history and culture.
The Sky’s The Limit
No visit to Albuquerque would be complete without experiencing the renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, where the sky comes alive with a kaleidoscope of colorful hot air balloons. Join the festivities, take a hot air balloon ride, and witness the mass ascension that showcases the city's love for ballooning.
For aviation enthusiasts, the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum offers an in-depth look at the history and science behind hot air ballooning.
The Great Outdoors
Albuquerque is a gateway to breathtaking natural landscapes. Hike or take a scenic tram ride to the top of the Sandia Mountains, where you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the city and beyond.
Explore the Petroglyph National Monument, a vast volcanic basalt ridge adorned with ancient rock carvings. For a serene escape, stroll along the Bosque Trail, which meanders alongside the Rio Grande, offering a peaceful retreat amidst nature.
“The sunlight of Albuquerque is one of the most transformative and energizing forces I have ever encountered. It is a city that embodies the spirit of the Southwest, with its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and a sense of adventure that permeates every corner.”
– Georgia O'Keeffe
Arts, Culture and Dining
Albuquerque is steeped in a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. Explore the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to learn about the Native American tribes of New Mexico and their ancient traditions. Visit the National Hispanic Cultural Center to delve into the contributions and heritage of the Hispanic community.
Art lovers can explore the rich heritage and contemporary art of the region at the Albuquerque Museum, which showcases a diverse range of artistic expressions, from traditional Southwestern works to avant-garde masterpieces.
Don't miss the chance to catch a captivating performance at one of the city's beloved landmarks. Built in 1927 in the Pueblo Deco architectural style, the KiMo Theatre is a significant part of Albuquerque's cultural heritage.
Albuquerque is a culinary delight, renowned for its unique blend of flavors influenced by Native American, Hispanic, and European cultures. The city embraces the use of green chiles in various dishes, adding a distinctive and delicious spicy kick to the local cuisine. Explore the Duke City’s vibrant food scene at authentic local eateries like La Guelaguetza.
Get to Know Albuquerque
From a booming culinary scene and a lively nightlife to world-class museums and natural wonders, the city offers a wide variety of culture and entertainment in addition to the Junket Albuquerque Experience. Here is a list of some of our favorite Albuquerque attractions:
- Petroglyph National Monument: Marvel at this collection of carved images, symbols and signs that were etched into the volcanic rock by ancestral Pueblo peoples some 3,000 years ago.
- International Balloon Museum: Wander through the fascinating exhibits and interactive displays of this unique museum dedicated to the history, science, and art of hot air ballooning.
- Old Town Albuquerque: Experience the city’s rich history firsthand at this fascinating ten-block district featuring art galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, and museums that honor the cultural tapestry of the Southwest.
- Sandia Peak Tramway: Get a breathtaking aerial view of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Valley, and the natural wonders of the Sandia Mountains on the world's longest aerial tramway.
- ABQ BioPark: Explore this captivating destination that combines a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, and beach, creating a diverse and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.
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